'Zomer' - it's 'summer' in Dutch. In Auckland on the weekend we visit it must be the only thing that is summery. Grey, wet, windy and miserable, Takapuna is indoors with only the hardiest of souls and their dogs lapping the beach.
The yellow-and-white striped awning is a bright welcome and there is plenty of space to eat out front when the weather improves. We add our brollies to the pile inside the door and are shown to the last available table for two. Our waiter tells us we have missed the rush and that at 10.30 it was packed and "there was a queue 12-deep outside". The joys of opening at 8am and catching the hungry Sunday market crowd when many cafes don't open for brunch until later.
The room feels light and airy - lots of Dutch blue and cream, a large dresser (Dutch, natch) by the door and an extremely long wooden piece of furniture - a combination sideboard and cabinet - that neatly divides the tables and is topped with attractive cakey things under glass.
Before we even sit down we are asked for coffee orders, which is terribly efficient but a little odd. We are then asked twice if we are ready to order, which is also odd, given we are the last ones in. I decide to be ethnic and have the Dutch fried eggs with cheese and ham - Uitsmijter. They are, I'm told, different because they are all cooked together in a pan. Sir demurs. "I've had them before and they're salty." He is not in the best humour. He orders poached eggs on seed bread toast with relish and adds a side of bacon.
The coffee comes in small glasses that have the advantage of warming the hands. For 20 minutes the food does not come. These days, in an increasingly slick cafe culture, that's a long time.
Mine is hearty, tasty, very filling and, yes, quite salty. I'm grateful I have added a side of mushrooms, which are delicious.
Sir is not delirious. "Extruded butter in a plastic-lidded plastic pot!" His seed-bread toast comes naked, the poached eggs to one side, with a pottle of relish. "If I had wanted eggs to this standard on dry toast I could have done better at home. Thank God for the bacon." I did say he is in a bit of a grump.
On a sunny day I would like to return - one swallow does not a Zomer make.
WHERE: 4 The Strand, Takapuna, Auckland, ph 09 488 7594.
WHEN: Monday to Wednesday, 8am-3pm (kitchen closes at 2.30pm); Thursday to Sunday, 8am-4pm (kitchen closes at 3pm).
WHAT'S TO EAT: Breakfast and brunch favourites, some with a Dutch twist, and beautiful baked goods.
HOW MUCH: $47 for coffees and meals for two.
WHAT DO WE THINK: It's early days - let the sun shine in.
- © Fairfax NZ News